Creative performance and attitudes toward creativity in adults with autism spectrum disorder

Alice Cancer, Sara Schiattone, Martina Monfredini, Alessandro Antonietti, Barbara Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous studies have shown contrasting results on the creative skills of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD thinking, which has been reported to often show lower flexibility, has been previously associated with lower scores in creative tasks aimed at measuring the ability to generate a large number of diverse ideas. However, enhanced originality of responses was observed in ASD, mostly in younger individuals. This study investigates the creative profile of a group of adults with ASD using both linguistic and figural tasks and compares it with a control group of matched neurotypical individuals. Ninety-four participants aged 19–69 years completed a battery of linguistic and figural creative tasks administered online. In addition, beliefs and attitudes about creativity were measured using a self-report questionnaire. Consistently with previous evidence, our results revealed a significant creative advantage of adults with ASD in linguistic originality compared to neurotypical controls. Furthermore, a significantly better performance in executing the creative assignment of varying their drawing output was recorded in the figural task. Finally, focusing on individual conceptions about creativity, individuals with ASD rated themselves as significantly more creative, to believe more in a genetic predisposition towards creativity, and to conceptualize being creative as doing things differently. These findings add further evidence to the specific creative strengths of the ASD cognitive profile and confirm that exceptional originality tends to persist into adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Adults
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Creativity
  • Divergent thinking
  • Naïve conceptions


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